AWOL

I know I have been AWOL the past couple of weeks, both with Weekly Summaries and now with my regular posts.  Life has been a bit crazy, I took a part time job that had me waking up between 2-5am and working up to 12 hours a day for two weekends, I performed one weekend, I have been in rehearsals for a show that opens tomorrow for two weekends, I have been sick, and I sprained my ankle.  Now I am trying to cram packing and picking up work as a background extra into the next week.  It has been fun around here.

I have still been keeping up with everything…mostly, but I have been absolutely lacking in recording what I have done.  I did go up a weight on my shoulder flies, and I have been hitting my calorie goal most days, though my eating has been all over the place.

I am going to try to get some regular posts scheduled before I leave for Florida on the 30th, but my summaries may or may not happen until I return.

Advertisements

Failure

Nobody likes to fail.  At the moment of failure, it feels horrible.  You replay your actions, what could you have done differently, how were you not prepared, you should have tried harder…

The recent phenomenon of participation awards, and children’s sports not having a winner or loser seems to be a generation of parents attempt to spare their children of the heartbreak of failure, but is that really what is best for the children?  Is failure really that bad?

Humans tend to have a very limited view of their life, as much as we worry about the future, we tend to prefer instant gratification over delayed gratification.  Losing is a sort of delayed winning.

When you win or succeed or something, there is little to gain.  You won the game, great.  You got the job, great.  Those are the goals, but it is easy to become complacent upon achieving those goals.  When you lose, on the other hand, you reevaluate yourself and try to find the areas where you can improve.

Example:
When I was in high school, I auditioned for Orchesis (a dance group) all three years in which I was eligible.  I did not make it the first two years, but we were able to see how the judges scored us in various skills, so I recorded my scores, made special note of the lowest ones, and spent the year until the next audition working to improve that skill.  The third year, I made the group.  I still have those scores today (along with scores from other dance auditions in high school) (Yes, I was and am a horrid speller and did not learn to spell Orchesis correctly until sometime in my junior year…in my defense, we called ourselves you spell the whale “orca” and that was our mascot).

So while I was devastated that I did not make the group the first two years, the failure drove me to improve myself.

There is was a Disney show that I liked (yes, I watch Disney channel…get over it) in which they had a very competitive character take issue with a younger character that received a participation trophy.  When I first saw this episode, I thought, “great, they are addressing the issue,” but they made it more about enjoying the game than winning or losing.

Yes, you should enjoy games you played, but that does not mean you cannot also win or lose.  Instead of teaching people that no one wins or loses, we should be teaching people how to win and lose with grace, and how to appreciate a loss and learn from it.  The next time you fail to achieve something, instead of wallowing in the failure and submerging yourself in the negativity of it, think about what ways you can improve yourself so that the next time you are in a similar situation, you have a chance of doing better.

Also, the next time you win and something, be respectful to those who have lost, and again…think about the ways you can improve yourself, because just because you won this time, does not mean you will win the next.

Prejudice – Project Implicit

When I first put this on my list of blogs to write, there was no large worry over nazi’s or white supremacy.  When I first put this on my list, Trump had not even been elected as the republican nominee let alone president.  And while there has been a great deal of prejudice against the middle east and Islam since 2001, it is frightening how applicable a discussion of prejudice is today.

While some people will openly admit to being prejudice against religions and races, most people do not, and believe they are not.  Unfortunately, prejudice runs deep in us.  It is a product of how we were raised and the environments we live in.  Sometimes people even work so hard against a prejudice that they become prejudice in the opposite way.  Yes, positive discrimination (such as assuming all Indians are doctors or all Asians are good at math), are still prejudices, and can still be harmful.

When I first heard of Project Implicit, I was a Psychology Undergrad, so not only was I studying social behaviors, such as prejudice, but I was also studying research methods and ways to trick the mind and the participant so that they cannot skew results.

Project Implicit provides you with two categories, those that are being tested (like black vs. white in testing race), and a control group (like words that mean good things vs. words that mean bad things).  They then mix and match these groups in order to test whether you have an easier time associating one test group or another with one control group or another.  (It makes more sense once you try the tests, I promise.)  Project Implicit does a good job of this, switching which side you are associated with what and forcing you to spend your thought process on which is what whether than cheating the test.

Now, like most (if not all) social experiments, this is not full-proof.  There may be some uncontrolled variable that causes you to sway to one side or another.  I would give examples that I know have swayed some of my own tests here, but I do not want to put anything in your mind that might influence you.  So, for those who are curious for my own results, only for after you have taken the tests, I repeat, ONLY FOR AFTER YOU HAVE TAKEN THE TESTS, I will include my thoughts on what could influence you in a link below my results.  This is the honor system here.  Jedi choose honor.

When I began this post, there were only 13 tests, but there are now 14 as I write this, so by the time you take this there may be more.  I will be including my results below, for the currently existing 14 tests, and if I notice in the future I will add my results for any new tests (if you are reading this now and notice a test I have not taken, please comment to alert me so that I can do so).  Not only will I include the text result, but I am screencaping my results.

I challenge everyone to take all the tests, maybe not all at once, but at some point take them all.  You might be surprised at what the results show.  And, if you are so inclined, post your results in the comments as well, though it is not required if you are not comfortable doing so.

My final thought to give you before sending you to take the tests is this.  Just because you display a prejudice one way or another does not make you a bad person.  It is difficult to override the programming of our youth, of our family influence, of our environment.  What defines you is how you act.  Discovering that you have a prejudice you did not know about can help you to be more aware of how you act and make you aware of your opportunities to improve yourself.  Like G.I. Joe used to tell us:  images (1)

Here is the link to Project Implicit.

Here are my results (I will say, that some of my results surprised me as skewing to the other side of normal, most likely my own overcompensation against the norm, it is really difficult to control for that):

  • Race (‘Black – White’ IAT) – “Your data suggest no automatic preference between African Americans and European Americans”
    IAT - Race
  • Weight (‘Fat – Thin’ IAT) – “Your data suggest no automatic preference between Fat people and Thin people.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-05 17.55.04
  • Native American (‘Native – White American’ IAT) – “Your data suggest a strong automatic association for American with Native American and Foreign with White American.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-06 00.08.11
  • Asian American (‘Asian – European American’ IAT) – “Your data suggest a slight automatic association for American with Asian American and Foreign with European American.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-05 17.47.19
  • Arab-Muslim (‘Arab Muslim – Other People’ IAT) – “Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for Arab Muslims over Other People.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-06 00.16.17
  • Skin-tone (‘Light Skin – Dark Skin’ IAT) – “Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for Light Skinned People over Dark Skinned People.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-06 02.06.06
  • Sexuality (‘Gay – Straight’ IAT) – “Your data suggest a slight automatic preference for Gay people over Straight people.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-05 18.23.48
  • Age (‘Young – Old’ IAT) – “Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for Young people over Old people.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-05 18.38.25
  • Disability (‘Disabled – Abled’ IAT) – “Your data suggest no automatic preference between Disabled Persons and Abled Persons.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-06 02.00.34
  • Gender – Career – “Your data suggest a moderate automatic association for Male with Family and Female with Career.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-06 00.34.04
  • Gender – Science – “Your data suggest a moderate automatic association for Male with Liberal Arts and Female with Science.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-05 18.02.17
  • Presidents (‘Presidential Popularity’ IAT) – “Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for Abraham Lincoln over Donald Trump.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-05 22.52.58
  • Weapons (‘Weapons – Harmless Objects’ IAT)- “Your data suggest a slight automatic association for Harmless Objects with Black Americans and Weapons with White Americans.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-05 18.31.37
  • Religion – “Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for Judaism over Christianity.”
    Screenshot 2017-09-05 17.40.31

 

ONLY CLICK THIS LINK AFTER YOU HAVE TAKEN THE TESTS TO AVOID SKEWING RESULTS (also a warning, this goes to a blog site I no longer use…ignore the mess)

Weekly Training Summary

Mind:

  • Mental Floss – #22: The Renaissance: Was it a Thing? and #23: The Columbian Exhange.
  • Reading – Read weekly Dune section, only one week left before I am finished.  Finished A New Dawn, began Heir to the Jedi.
  • Language – Watched six episodes of La Pimpa.

Body:

  • Calories in/out – 9,372/15,506 (9,372) Ate a little more than burned, but not too bad.
  • Weight Loss – Did not stay at home last night, so I did not weigh in again.
  • Workout – I only got my workout in on Thursday and Friday.  Monday I did a trial run at a job, Tuesday I spent the night at a friends, Wednesday I was on set, Saturday I was at a party and stayed at friends, and Sunday I did the Rollercoaster challenge.  Busy, busy week.
  • Diet – Eh…could have been better, but not being home most of the week, I did not do too bad.

Spirit:

  • Meditation – Did my Headspace meditations, though definitely lacking in other meditations throughout the day.
  • Charity – Rollercoaster Challenge.  I did not meet my minimum goal of $150, raising only $90, but our group raised $100 more than our minimum goal.  I wish I could have raised more, but I suppose it was not too bad for less than a week of time.

“I can’t.”

 

No, I am not going to be making an argument here for you lifting anything with your mind.  Until someone proves to us that lifting anything (let alone an x-wing (let alone has an actual x-wing to lift)) with their mind is possible, we are working within our realm of human possibility here.

I have heard “I can’t” from a lot of Jedi, and every time I do I want to beat them with a gimer stick.

KJzGqPU(Seriously…I am just going to move to a swamp, put on an antic disposition like Yoda and be done with it.)

First off, if you say you can’t, then you can’t.  You have already failed because you refuse to try.

Second off, maybe you are right.

~Wait, what‽‽‽~
(Interrobang for the win!!!!!!)
(There is a new term/punctuation mark for most of you.)
(Learn something new every day.)

So, you say you can’t learn a foreign language.  Or you say you will never be able to lift a certain weight.  Or you say that you can’t run a marathon.  Or maybe it is something else completely.  Maybe a diet goal, or a savings goal…anything.  You might be right.  You may be incapable of that thing, but that does not mean you are incapable of improving your ability.

If you look at the grand end goal from the beginning, of course it seems impossible.  A foreign language, weight lifting, marathons…those are HUGE goals.  In order to make any sort of progress, you have to break those goals down.

Instead of saying you want to learn a foreign language, start by saying I want to do x many DuoLingo lessons of a language per week, or I want to take a class in that language, or I want to learn how to count to ten in a different language, or buy a textbook in a language and commit to learning one chapter at a time.  You may never become fluent in a language, but you may learn just enough to help translate for someone or communicate with someone who only speaks that language on a basic level.

Instead of saying you want to lift some massive amount of weight.  Find out what you can lift now.  Start doing reps 3+ times a week of what you can lift until that becomes easy.  Add a few pounds and repeat.  You may never reach that massive weight, but you still made yourself stronger than when you began.

Instead of saying you want to run a marathon, start by saying you want to run a 5k (3.1 miles and usually the shortest race distance) in 45 minutes or less (approximate minimum time for a race I usually do), or break it down even further and say you want to do a mile in 15 minutes or less.  Once you can do the mile, do the 5k, once you can do the 5k, do an 8k, then a 10k.  You may never run a marathon, but you can still run more than most people ever attempt.

With each of these small goals, once you achieve it, you set a new small goal.  Then another.  Then another.  And you keep working towards small goals until AND BEYOND, achieving the most you can possibly achieve (because generally, if you do not continue to practice a skill or ability, you lose it).

I give you one of my favorite quotes:

ENGL1102blogpostbetter

I have seen this quote get a bad rap…even saw it on a list of quotes that need to stop being used, but it means so much to me.  Shoot for a goal, no matter how impossible it may seem, because even if you really can’t achieve that goal, you can still make progress, still improve.

I learned this as a little girl.  For two years I tried to learn how to do a areal (no handed) cartwheel.  Two years I failed.  But every time I stepped up to the mat I repeated over and over “I think I can” (yes, like the Little Engine…like I said, I was a kid.)  My attitude and my mantra was known to my acrobatic classmates, many of them were inspired by it, they would use it for themselves, they even took to repeating it with me when I when I would attempt it each time as a form of encouragement.  It was amazing how powerful such a small thing had become.  Finally one day I did.  A month later I could also do an areal walkover.  No matter how impossible it ever seemed, I never stopped trying.  Never stopped working to be better.

Unless you are talking about plans you cannot commit to, or something like that, never say you can’t.  Because when you do, what you are really saying is “I won’t.”

 

Six Flags 5K Coaster Challenge for Special Olympics

I am always looking for ways to help charity, and my friend Eric just brought this to my attention a couple of days ago. It is like your typical 5K, except that instead of doing 3.1 miles of running, I have to ride 3.1 miles of rollercoaster (it worked out perfect for Eric, cause he is injured and not allowed to run right now anyhow). I only get to participate if I raise the minimum though, and it all goes towards the Special Olympics.
The event is this Sunday, so I do not have much time to raise the money, but every little bit counts.

 

Weekly Training Summary

Mind:

  • Mental Floss – World History #21 – Columbus, De Gama, and Zheng He – 15th Century Mariners.
  • Reading – I finished Tarkin and began A New Dawn, read up to Chapter 13.  Read next section of Dune for Dune club.  Only read one play, because it is a script I begin rehearsals for on Tuesday.  I read it probably three times so far.
  • Language – Watched three episodes of La Pimpa.

Body:

  • Calories in/out – ?/13,638 – This week was such a bust.  I was on set for about 12 hours each on Thursday and Friday, and did not do a very good job of tracking food on the other days, so I have no idea what my calories in was.  I am sure too high.  They feed us well on set.  There was even a little zen pond with zen-type music playing.  My calorie burn goal fell and average of 250 calories short each day.  Not a good week overall.
  • Workout –
    • Monday – I think I got my workout in on Monday…the week was so crazy I did not even write in my fitness journal, but I am pretty sure I did.
    • Tuesday – I was gone all day due to an interview in the city, so I did not have time to get my workout it.
    • Wednesday – Got my workout in early so that I could get to bed early-ish.  Had to be up at 4am.
    • Thursday – On set 7am-7:30pm
    • Friday – On set 6:30am-7:30pm
    • Saturday – Recuperating from two days on set.
    • Sunday – I very much wanted to skip the workout tonight, but I wanted to get at least three nights in.  I spent the whole night telling myself “I will not throw up, I will not throw up…”

Spirit:

  • Meditation – Fell a bit behind on my headspace meditations because I was getting so little sleep on days I had to be on set.  Caught up by the end of the week though.

Weekly Training Summary

Mind:

  • Reading – Began reading Tarkin.  I had intended to finish by now but I spent the last two days watching Hurricane Irma rather than reading (I used to live in Orlando, so I have a lot of friends there).  Read one play.
  • Mental Floss – World History #20 – Russia, the Kievan Rus, and the Mongols.
  • Language – Watched three episodes of La Pimpa.  Read four pages (one chapter) of Pinocchio.

Body:

  • Calories in/out – 7,821/14,069 ()
  • Weight Loss – 0…my weight actually went back up this week, but evened out by today.
  • Workout –
    • Monday & Tuesday – My spine was in a not happy place after spending Sunday laced up in my renaissance costume.  I have not been in costume for that long in years, and I knew but the end of the day that my back was going to be hurting, and sure enough, Monday I could not turn my head to the left, and Tuesday, while I had movement back, there was a lot of pain.  So these two days I only did some gentle stretching.
    • Wednesday – I did my full routing and blocked out my Morning Yoga routine.
    • Thursday – I did my Morning Yoga, though a little later in the day than I had intended.  Also did my full workout routine, and accidentally went up a weigh on my shoulder flies for the first set.  I made it through without doing a drop set, but went back to the correct weight for the second set.  Not quite there yet.
    • Friday – Did my Zumba routine and stretched, but I took the night off from weights.  My shoulders were in pain from the accidental weight increase (good pain, not like I pulled anything), so I decided to give them the opportunity to feel better.
    • Saturday – I tried to workout Saturday, I really did.  Got up, did about 30 minutes of Zumba, and I just was not up for it.  Been going through a lot lately and it was just one of those nights when it just knocked the wind out of me.
    • Sunday – Got in the full workout AND increased the weights on my overhead tricep extensions.  I imagine my triceps are going to hurt tomorrow.
  • Diet – I was scraping this week.  I do pretty much all of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and the nearest Trader Joe’s is 40 minutes away, so I have been holding off for an extra week until I am out that way again.  I picked up a few things at a local store, but it will be nice to finally go food shopping on Tuesday.

Spirit:

  • Meditation –  I finished Headspace’s Take 20 this week, and started on their Discovery series.  Had some trouble focusing this week, my mind being in an almost constant state of turmoil, but I added in some extra meditations and I come to the end of the week feeling a little better.

Overcoming

Physical limitations.  Some of us are lucky not to experience them in any real way.  Some of us are not.  Sometimes it is a temporary limitation, perhaps you broke your leg playing basketball and need to go through an extensive period of physical therapy.  For others, it is something they will carry with them for their entire life.

It is very easy, when you have some sort of physical limitation, to just blame it for not being able to do certain things and move on.  “I get chest pains when I run, so I can’t run.”  “I have tendinitis in my hands, so I can’t climb.”  “I have a bad back so I can’t….anything.”

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
~Jim Rohn

This even applies, to some extent, to major handicaps.  Look at the Paralympians or the numerous other athletes who have missing limbs and what not, but still find a way to be active because they are driven to do so.  If you are in a wheelchair, make use of your arms.  If you are missing an arm, trying running.  Yes, in some cases they are only able to gain the fame  they do due to expensive prosthetics, treatments, or other expensive aid, but we are not looking for fame here, we are looking for effort and intent.

If you are in a wheelchair, you will likely never be able to run a marathon, but what CAN you do.  Similar to how they say losing ones sight heightens a persons hearing (maybe not to the extent of Daredevil, but still), if you cannot use your legs, learn to use your arms.  If you are missing a limb, make use of the other three.  Will it be difficult at first? You bet it will.  Is it worth it?  You will have to make that judgement for yourself, but I have never heard anyone say no.

I would say yes.

******

I have mentioned before, that one week after I was born, I was diagnosed with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  For the first year of my life, I was hooked up to breathing monitors.  For the first year of my life, I was on all sorts of medications that, as an infant baby, made me cry constantly.  Around the time of my first birthday they finally started to ween me from all of this (and according to my mother, being off the medication made me a completely different baby).  Around the time I was in third grade however, I began to notice something that would prove that those days were not entirely in the past.  I started getting chest pains every time I ran.  Sharp pains, that felt like being stabbed repeatedly to the chest and made it nearly impossible to breath.  From 3rd grade through about 7th grade, I was constantly at the hospital, seeing various specialists, undergoing all sorts of testing trying to determine the cause to my pain.  Eventually, I told my mother I was done, I did not want to see anymore doctors, they were not finding anything.  Many years later I would find out that my mother and the doctors had came to the conclusion that this was a birth defect, but my mother never shared this with me until I told her that I had always assumed that was what it was (I was in my mid-20’s when that happened…thanks mom).

Through all this time, and on all the way through high school, I was always on a doctors note.  I was excused from running in gym class, and I was permitted to carry advil or a similar medication with me at all times in case I had an onset of chest pains.  I even left school several times because the pain would come on and be too much to ignore (stress can bring them on as well).  I submitted to the pain.  I let it dictate what I could and could not do.

Then, one day, a few years after high school, I decided that I was done letting it dictate what I did, and I started running for the first time since I was a toddler.  I have never really stopped since.  Two years ago I ran my first 5K.  Last year I ran my first 10K.  I cannot run the entire time, I have to do intervals…usually 2 minutes of running vs. 3 minutes of walking, sometimes reverse if I am having a good day, but I still get up and do it.  I have learned to breath through stress related episodes, so that I can continue with what I am doing.

I also have a bad back.  I landed a flip-flop on my head when I was fifteen years old.  Messed up the lumbar area of my back forever.  I had about a year of treatment, three times a week, and it is better than it once was, but it will always be a problem.  There are a lot of exercises I come across when doing workout programs and just go nope…nope, my back cannot handle that now.  If I can modify it, I do, and sometimes I can work up to doing the regular move.  Other times I cannot.  So, I focus on the exercises I can do, and I take extra care of my back.  I stretch, I foam roll, I make extra sure to drink enough water (you would be amazed the difference in how my back feels when I am properly hydrated compared to when not).

******

Both of these things I have learned to manage (as well as a few other lesser issues, like my recent develoment of Reynauld’s Disease).  These are worst than what some people experience.  They are also nothing compared to what some people experience.  Still, they were my struggles, they were mine to overcome.  If you have some sort of disability, you need to figure out what you are capable of.  Research others with your same problem who have excelled physically, read their stories, follow their advice, and even see if you can talk to them about it.  Talk to anyone you can who can give you expert advise.  If you have a regular doctor or physical therapist, talk to them about what you can do to achieve these new goals.  It will not change overnight, it is a long road, and all uphill, but when you get to the top of that hill, look down, and realize how far you have come…yeah, it is worth it.

As Jedi, we should be prepared for anything that comes at us, in anyway we can.  How can you prepare yourself?  How can you improve yourself?  Everyone begins as a novice, what matters is that you begin.

Weekly Training Summary

Mind:

  • Reading – I fell behind a bit here.  I did not feel well most of the week, and that made it difficult to focus on reading and studies.  I caught up with Dune on Friday, so I managed to hit the book club weekly mark.  I made progress with Lords of the Sith, though I had anticipated finishing it a couple of days ago, but I only just finished it today (thank goodness for audiobooks on long drives).  I began reading a new play, but I only made it about one scene in.
  • Language – Watched six episodes of La Pimpa.  Found a place to watch Friends in Italian…not sure if that will be easy because I have already seen all of friends or difficult because the language is a lot more advanced than children shows.  I have until I finish La Pimpa to decide what to watch next though.

Body:

  • Calories in/out – 7,145/15,863 (8,718 difference) – Okay, a very important point here.  Although I made my goal as far as calories burned, I am not happy with my calories in.  7,145 calories only averages about 1,020 calories today, which is 180 calories beneath the minimum I should consume in a day.  Again, the reason for this is not feeling well, but I must note that this is not something you should allow to happen under normal circumstances.  Eating too few calories is just as damaging as eating too many and is neither healthy, nor an effective way to lose weight.
  • Weight Loss – -2lbs…yay progress.  I put on my renaissance costume for the first time in nearly a year today and it was super tight, the next time I wear it is in one month, hopefully I can keep up the 2lbs/week goal now and be down an extra 8lbs before then.
  • Workout –
    • Monday – Monologue Class, did not workout
    • Tuesday – Worked out but did not finish Zumba routine or do anything after.
    • Wednesday – Worked out, but somehow completely forgot plank knee taps and push-ups.
    • Thursday – I tried to workout, but I was not feeling well and only made it through seven songs before I could not continue.
    • Friday – Full workout, and I went up to the next weight on my in and out straight arms.  That leaves only my overhead tricep extensions at the lowest weight, so expect those to go up soon.
    • Saturday – I did not workout because I spent the day gathering up my costume to go to the renaissance faire with my friend on Sunday.  I was feeling a little ill still anyhow.
    • Sunday – Renaissance Faire.  I used to work at this one as a dancer and a tumbler, so I tend to still get a decent workout when I visit (I burned over 3,000 calories on Sunday).
  • Diet – So all over the place.  With not feeling well, I was not eating nearly enough calories, then even when I started feeling better, I kept having bouts of hunger that threatened nausea if I did not eat.  With being at Faire on Sunday, I was also at the mercy of faire food….ie not healthy.  The days I did do good though, I was really good.  Here is to doing better next week.

Spirit:

  • Meditation – Up to date with headspace, and getting my moving meditations in most days.  Still did not add Yoga routine in during the mornings, this week would have been an ideal week to do it were it not for not feeling well.